*I had hoped that by tomorrow, I could get my big post with all of my pics and thoughts on our Missouri trip up and running, but considering my huge mess-up with when my teaching orientations actually started, all you get today are these two pictures. Maybe I’ll be ready with the rest by Thursday or Friday, eh?
*Currently, I am at the school waiting for Back to School night to start. Almost all the other teachers just went home after our big meeting this morning, but considering that I have a 35-minute commute each way, I decided to just wait it out. Of course, I was hoping that with all this time, I’d magically want to get everything prepared and ready for about three weeks out, but THAT is apparently not happening. There’s just something about long staff meetings that kills all motivation for anything remotely to do with teaching.
*I’m sure I’ll talk more about this later, but can I just say that I am trying very hard not to panic about this upcoming school year? Normally, I would be panicking much less if I was just looking at the fact that this is going to be my second year of teaching rather than my first, but the problem is that apparently this incoming group of students is the worst the school has ever seen. Everyone’s been saying it, too, from the administration down to the teachers who taught the kids last year…even the health teacher, who never has anything bad to say about kids ever and is the most beloved (and probably most effective) teacher in the whole school said that she’s never had such a hard group.
*Case in point: yesterday, our training was all around a poker theme, with the motto of: “Play your cards well.” Basically, the whole idea behind the training was to try to tell us that we can’t control which cards (or students) we get–just how well we play the cards. Of course, then the training went on to talk about how we label some kids “jokers” or “low cards” and some kids “aces” or “kings,” with each type of card being represented by an actual incoming student’s picture (and behavioral background). Of course, rather than encouraging us to judge less, I think it all just made us make prejudgments even more, especially since many of us had never met these particular students last year. The most terrifying thing? I think almost every single one of the “joker” (aka trouble) kids that they mentioned were in my classes. I am not even kidding. Every. Last. One.
*Nor am I kidding about the theme of yesterday’s staff workshop. In fact, the theme is going so far that as teachers, we’re going to get playing cards for doing the things that the administrators are encouraging, and we’ll be able to turn in our “hands” at various points throughout the school year for poker chips, which we then can trade in for rewards. One thing is certain: the new administration at the school sure doesn’t go halfway on stuff.
*Other than the fact that the underlying motif of the conference had to do with gambling, it actually was really well done. For an orientation meeting anyway. Except for the fact that now I’m even more terrified of my new students than before.
*Another thing about my incoming classes is that they are WAY bigger than last year. Last year, I only had one class of 31, and the rest ranged from 24-29. This year, my smallest is 31 and my largest is 35. Kill me now.
*Soapbox moment: isn’t it strange how everyone is always so concerned about whether or not we’re spending enough on each student in the educational system, yet none of those dollars per kid actually go towards teachers’ salaries or hiring more teachers so that the class sizes are smaller? It boggles my mind.
*My last complaint of the day? Our school has no A/C, even though almost every other school in existence has finally invested in air conditioning for the building. Lame.
*On a non-school note, I had the awesomest thing happen on Sunday. So remember a couple weeks ago, when I mentioned that our best friends moved and I was bemoaning how hard it is to make friends once you’re married? Well, I was sitting in church and the meeting had just gotten over, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw my favorite mission companion and her new husband right behind us! They apparently had moved in a block over from our apartment, and neither of us knew that the other was so close. We were so stoked that we promptly invited them over for dinner and games, and we had a blast. It was actually because of that that I was up so late on Sunday when I found out that I had to go to that orientation the next day.
*I learned an important lesson yesterday: you know those little pegs that hold up the shelves on a bookshelf? Well, apparently you can buy replacements at Smith’s (or probably most other general stores). I was worried I’d have to get all new shelving for my classroom because my students last year hashed the little one that was already in the room, but a small investment of $3.09 saved me from that particular expense. Awesomeness.
*Only 1.5 hours until all the parents and students arrive. Iwillnotfreakout Iwillnotfreakout Iwillnotfreakout….